Book review: Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Dear Martin by Nic Stone
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads

Publication Date: October 17, 2017

Source: Borrowed

Raw, captivating, and undeniably real, Nic Stone joins industry giants Jason Reynolds and Walter Dean Myers as she boldly tackles American race relations in this stunning debut.

Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. And despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can’t escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates. Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.

Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up—way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack.

Dear Martin is a book that’s been on my TBR since it came out at the end of last year. I loved The Hate U Give and I was kind of indifferent to All American Boys, so I was excited to see another author’s take on this topic. I think that this is an important story to tell, but I wasn’t the biggest fan of its execution.

To start off, I found the writing a little odd. There are some parts that are told pretty traditionally. Other parts are written as letters to Martin Luther King Jr., which makes sense, given the topic of the book. But then there are some parts that are written like a script, which felt so weird and out of place. I don’t understand why this book had to be written in three different styles.

There were some parts of this book that I really liked. I think that the author handled racism really well, not just the overt racism of the shooting, but also the smaller acts that affected Justyce’s everyday life. There’s talk of affirmative action, interracial dating, and insensitive classmates. That said, I wish there would have been more to this book.

The conversations with MLK via letter are good, but I felt like the book got a little too focused on Justyce’s love life rather than the actual, you know, shooting and racial injustice. It’s a good, relevant, important book, but it wasn’t one of my favorites.

Have you read Dear Martin? Is it on your TBR?

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